The Aftermath of Natural Disasters
It has been a tumultuous year for our planet – one filled with cautionary messages confirming the unpredictability of the forces of nature and the inherent risks imposed by our use of nuclear energy.
- March: A 9.0 earthquake and tsunami caused multiple meltdowns of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan. In this unprecedented and ongoing disaster, large amounts of radioactive isotopes have been released into the atmosphere and the Pacific Ocean.
- June: The Missouri River flood waters jeopardized the safety of two nuclear facilities in Nebraska – Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant (where water breached the berm) and Cooper Nuclear Station.
- August: The most powerful earthquake to hit the East Coast in decades occurred in Virginia and affected twelve nuclear plants located in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Michigan. The North Anna Nuclear Power Station lost electricity for a period of time.
Mothers for Peace has taken actions to pressure the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to apply the lessons learned from these events.
- April: Mothers for Peace held a protest rally in Avila Beach
- April: Mothers for Peace joined 45 groups in a formal petition asking the NRC to immediately suspend all licensing and other activities until a thorough post-Fukushima reactor crisis examination is completed.
- July: Mothers for Peace gathered over 8,000 signatures in a petition to President Obama.
- August: Mothers for Peace joined 26 groups in a legal challenge, calling on the NRC to delay or cancel reactor licensing.
- August: Mothers for Peace joined a statewide coalition of more than 60 groups to shut down both the Diablo Canyon and San Onofre nuclear plants.
- September (and on-going): Mothers for Peace is gathering signatures to be sent to the NRC demanding that it close California’s two nuclear power plants.
- October/November: Mothers for Peace participated in a Peacewalk for a Nuclear Free World.
Numerous countries throughout the world have responded to the Fukushima disaster with a re-evaluation of the use of nuclear power. The NRC in the United States has been slow to agree to any changes that might better protect the public from such catastrophic events. It has, however taken a step in the right direction by recently committing to the implementation of 7 of the 12 recommendations of the Fukushima Task Force.
Mothers for Peace continues the intervention process regarding Pacific Gas &Electric Company’s (PG&E) application to extend its license to operate Diablo Canyon until the years 2044 and 2045. That, too, has been a turbulent process.
The initial ruling in 2010 by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board accepted four of the Mothers for Peace contentions for hearing. In response to PG&E’s appeal, the NRC Commissioners ruled on October 12 of this year that it will hear only one of these contentions and reversed the decision to hear the three others.
The Commissioners agreed to hold hearings on the Mothers for Peace contention which asserts that seismic studies, including the Shoreline Fault, must be incorporated into the final licensing decision for the nuclear plant. Because these studies are not expected to be completed until the year 2015, the hearing will take place after that time.
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Mothers for Peace retains its strongest contention in its opposition to Diablo Canyon’s license renewal. A good start has been made collecting funds for this project, but much more is needed to pay for expert witnesses, attorney fees, and travel expenses.
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San Luis Obispo, CA 93403
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With appreciation for your continued support~